Criminal record expungement attorney in Jacksonville, Robert Peters asks… “Are you worried that the results of background check will ruin your chances of starting a career or advancing in your education?”
You are not alone.
We all make poor decisions at one point or another in our lives. The good news is, our firm can help you expunge or seal your criminal record before an assault, battery, petit theft, or disorderly conduct / intoxication charge stops you from living out your dreams.
There are countless other misdemeanor charges such as trespassing and criminal mischief and certain second and third degree felonies like drug trafficking or possession that our firm can help you expunge or seal. If you have specific questions about your situation, take advantage of our firm’s FREE legal evaluation today!
At the Law Offices of Robert Peters, we focus on felony or misdemeanor expungement and sealing adult and juvenile criminal records in Florida, mainly in the cities of Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Gainesville and Tallahassee. We have handled hundreds of cases for college students who attend the following Florida schools:
- Edward Waters College;
- Florida Coastal School of Law;
- Florida State College at Jacksonville;
- Florida State University (FSU);
- Florida Technical College;
- Jacksonville University;
- Jones College;
- University of Florida (UF);
- University of North Florida (UNF);
- Virginia College.; and
- Several other Northern Florida campuses.
Some of the most common questions our clients will ask are:
- Is there a difference between expunging and sealing records?
- How will I know if I am eligible for expungement or sealing?
- What if I have been arrested multiple times? Can you still help me?
- What is the process for clearing your criminal record in Florida?
- What is the time frame for sealing or expunging records?
- Will I have to go to trial/court?
- Are there offenses that cannot be expunged, sealed, pardoned?
- After my records are expunged/sealed, what will a background check reveal?
- What effect does my probation or community service status have on the expungement process?
When you petition to have your criminal record expunged, you are requesting that all documents relating to a specific criminal case be destroyed. Once this process is complete, only two copies of your case will remain – one with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and the other with the Clerk of Courts. However, these copies are strictly confidential and not visible to the public, i.e., a future employer or educational institution.
Sealing your criminal record, on the other hand, will only hide the documents pertaining to your criminal case to the public. In other words, the courts and law enforcement agencies can still possess copies of your criminal record, they’re just not allowed to divulge any details or say they exist unless ordered by a court of law.
The best way to determine eligibility for expungement or sealing of your criminal records is to let a Jacksonville, FL expungement attorney like Robert Peters review your situation. During a consultation, we’ll look at the basics of your criminal record including:
- Whether or not you obtained a previous sealing or expungement of your records;
- If you have been adjudicated guilty of any criminal offense;
- If you are currently under any type of court supervision (house arrest, probation, etc.); and
- If you entered a guilty plea or “no contest” to an offense that is ineligible for expungement or sealing according to Florida law.
If you can answer “no” to these four basic requirements there’s a good chance your criminal record may be eligible for expungement or sealing. However, there are other criteria which could prevent you from a successful record sealing or expungement. Our law firm can assist you with these requirements.
Before you can consider sealing or expunging criminal records in Florida you must make sure your obligations regarding probation or community service are fulfilled. Robert Peters has helped his clients seek early termination of probation so they can begin the process of expunging or sealing their criminal records as soon as possible.
We are a one-stop shop for your expungement needs and can break the process down into eight steps:
- Determine your eligibility for sealing or expungement.
- Obtain your fingerprints (which may be done directly in our office).
- File a complete and accurate application for sealing or expungement of criminal records with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).
- Terminate your probation, if necessary.
- Receive a Certificate of Eligibility for sealing or expungement;
- File a petition to seal or expunge your criminal record with the court;
- Attend a court hearing on your petition (if applicable); and
- Obtain a decision on your petition.
When your petition is approved, the court will send an order to all criminal justice agencies, as well as the Clerk of Courts to seal or expunge the documents relating to your arrest.
Every case is different, but many people find that their case often takes less time to reach a decision when they’ve worked with a Jacksonville expungement lawyer. On average, you can expect to wait about four to six months from the time you file your petition to receive a decision.
Half a year is a long time to wait. If you’re preparing to graduate in a year or when you first decide to seek a new job situation, you want to consider having your criminal record expunged before beginning a new path to improvement.
You will only be required to appear in court if the judge overseeing your petition deems it necessary. However, our experience is that a court appearance is rarely necessary when our law firm handles the paperwork and follow-up in your expungement case.
Florida law allows for only one sealing or expungement per criminal episode. Multiple arrests means that you may only seal or expunge a single incident – but there is an exception we may be able to help you with – if you plead guilty or “no contest” to multiple offenses and adjudication of guilt was withheld on all criminal offenses you may elect to seal the most serious charge from your record.
The Florida Statues list several specific criminal offenses that may NOT be sealed or expunged. This list includes:
- Abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult, or aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult;
- Acts of domestic violence;
- Acts of terrorism;
- Aggravated assault;
- Aggravated battery;
- Aircraft piracy;
- A violation of any offense qualifying for registration as a sexual predator, or for registration as a sexual offender;
- Burglary of a dwelling;
- Child abuse or aggravated child abuse;
- Computer pornography;
- Home-invasion robbery;
- Illegal use of explosives;
- Lewd, lascivious, or indecent assault or offense upon or in the presence of a child under the age of 16 years;
- Lewd or lascivious offense upon or in the presence of an elderly person or disabled adult;
- Luring or enticing a child;
- Manufacturing any substances in violation of chapter 893 of the Florida Statutes;
- Offenses by public officers and employees;
- Procuring a person under 18 for prostitution;
- Selling or buying of minors;
- Sexual activity with a child, who is 12 years of age or older but less than 18 years of age, by or at solicitation of a person in familial or custodial authority;
- Sexual battery and related offenses;
- Sexual misconduct with developmentally disabled, mentally deficient or mentally ill person and related offenses;
- Sexual performance by a child;
- Showing or providing obscene literature to a minor;
- Stalking or aggravated stalking;
- Trafficking in controlled substances;
- Violations of theFloridaCommunication Fraud Act; and
If your criminal record was successfully sealed, it will no longer appear on your background check. It is illegal for a criminal justice agency to release any information about your sealed or expunged records once the process is complete. The only way they are able to release this information is upon request under court order.
Do you have more questions about the criminal record sealing and expungement process in Florida? Our legal team is ready to help!
Let Attorney Robert Peters Help with Your Petition to Expunge in Florida
Even though a future employer may not care that you were caught tagging a shuttle at UF or were caught drinking underage at your first college party, these charges will still show that you have a criminal record. That record on a background check can mean the difference between a ‘yes’ and a ‘no’ when applying for a new job. The Law Office of Robert Peters has been helping Jacksonville college hopefuls, new graduates and job seekers avoid having the aftermath of a Florida arrest record ruin their chances at future opportunities.
When you worked hard to earn that freshly framed diploma you don’t want those efforts going to waste when employers see a criminal history on your background check. Let the team at The Law Office of Robert Peters help you find the best ways to improve your shot at landing that first post-graduate job!